Happy Fall Everyone!

We hope that everyone has safely made it through the other side of the epic rainfall we just experienced.

In addition to the atmospheric river flowing through BC, COVID is also flowing through its fourth and hopefully final wave. Despite the progress we’ve made with vaccinations, social distancing and other important hygienic practices, we still seem to be grappling with the pandemic. The Spanish flu, one hundred years ago, only had three waves, so there is hope the end is near.

We hope you are still all managing to stay safe and happy through this, hopefully, last episode as our communities and the world in general work towards becoming more protected from this terrible virus.

Federal Candidates Meeting

We successfully held our first virtual federal candidates meeting using Zoom on September 12 with roughly two dozen participants in attendance, including five of the six candidates from the parties represented in our riding: Rob Anderson (People’s Party of Canada, PPC), Laura Frost (Progressive Conservatives, PC), Randall Garrison (New Democratic Party, NDP), Harley Gordon (Green Party), and Tyson Strandlund (Communist Party of Canada, CPC) – with regrets from the Liberal candidate, Doug Kobayashi.

Although we now know the results of the federal election, it was a good opportunity to sound out the potential candidates on issues considered of particular importance to our communities including tools and strategies for resolving the climate crisis, true reconciliation with First Nations in moving forward together, and the protection of fish stocks and local orca populations. You can hear more about their responses in our recording of the session (use passcode: !cQTUM7@ )

Membership drive

OPSRRA held an information booth at the Sooke Applefest which took place on the rainy Sunday of September 26. Despite the rain, the event was fairly well attended and, in addition to spreading the word about our organization and its role/activities, we were able to secure five new memberships. Many thanks to OPSRRA board members, Jay Evans, Chris and Lynn Moss for setting up and running the booth that day.

We are also continuing our transition from lifetime to five-year renewable memberships, and are currently in our third round of renewals with 20 additional members having reconfirmed their commitment to OPSRRA this year and 19 new members.

If you haven’t already renewed, it’s only $10.00 per person for five years and $10.00 per year for a business. You can do this several ways – by filling in the membership form, pay online, send an e-transfer to info@opsrra.ca, or even mail a cheque to the address below:

c/o 9193 West Coast Road
Shirley BC V9Z 1G3

MOTI Road Upgrades

We continue to monitor road upgrade work along West Coast Road including culvert upgrade work along the 9547 West Coast Road block in Shirley and other areas, providing assistance to our residents and members in working with MOTI as required.

This recent catastrophic rainstorm was a hard test on our current and upgraded infrastructure. Our thanks and congratulations to the road crews, first responders and BC Hydro staff who have been working tirelessly though the mudslides, fallen trees and sinkholes these last few days to keep our access routes open and hydro lines powered back on.

Water Survey and Issues

Although this seems a little odd to talk about given our recent 200mm rainfall, come late summer many of us will return to a state of water concerns.

OPSRRA’s water survey, which started on September 2 and was extended until the end of November, has been a resounding success with over 80 respondents. We are currently analyzing the results and comparing them with previous years (2015 and 2017) and will be reporting on them in our next director’s report coming to you in the new year. If you have any concerns or questions please contact us at info@opsrra.ca.

Registering Non-Domestic Use Wells due by February 2022

Non-domestic groundwater users (agricultural irrigation, commercial buildings, B&B’s and vacation rentals, community centres, camps, public facilities and local water purveyors) that were using water before February 29, 2016 are required to apply for a groundwater license by March 1, 2022. Existing groundwater users who have not applied by the deadline must stop using groundwater and will lose recognition of their historical date of first use.

That historical date is important because during water shortages older licences get priority access to water. If this deadline is missed, groundwater users will need to apply for a new water licence to authorize their use. This could be costly as it may require technical assessments to be completed by a qualified professional to support the application and the granting of a licence is not guaranteed. Under the BC Water Sustainability Act (WSA) domestic wells and use of groundwater for single residence and garden up to 1 hectare in size do not require a licence. Domestic well owners should ensure their wells are registered to improve the inventory of groundwater. For questions on non-domestic groundwater licenses, you can visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/environment/air-land-water/water/gwlicensingqas-2020.pdf.

606 Water Group

The 606 Water Group Otter Point is an informal citizens’ group currently with members from the Juan de Fuca Electoral Area, Langford and Metchosin. The name comes from aquifer 606, which underlies most of the Western Communities, with many smaller aquifers overlying it, like puddles of softer materials over the bedrock. Their goal is “to raise awareness of our water resources” being acutely aware of the effects of overuse of aquifers, and are requesting action on goals that citizens have set in the past such, as to have the water allocation plans for our local rivers and streams updated from the 1990’s and observation wells established to track groundwater.

In all the Western Communities and JdF EA, there is one observation well in Gowlland Tod Park and one in Sooke. We need additional data to augment existing information on water resources and rationalize planning for the future to avoid irrevocably depleting these. If you are having trouble with your well or surface water supply, we encourage you to write the CRD (please copy president@opsrra.ca) or your local government in Sooke. Water users on the Kemp Lake Waterworks system should contact the waterworks through its website. 

Community Notice Board Repairs

Some of our notice boards and welcome signs are in need of repairs and paint, including the Welcome to Otter Point, which seems to be leaning a bit. Your OPSRRA board is attempting to assemble a group of interested volunteers to survey the amount of repairs that are required and assist with this endeavour. If you are interested in volunteering and assisting us, please contact director2@opsrra.ca.

Emergency Preparedness

Unprecedented  high temperatures, unprecedented drought, nearby wildfires raging, unprecedented rainfall, and gusting winds, are a poignant reminder about the importance of being prepared for any and all kinds of events in our communities and the need to be ready to evacuate as needed.

For this reason, having a “Grab and Go” bag at the ready for any potential disasters is a good idea. Please refer to BC’s Build a household emergency kit and grab-and-go bag website for more information.

Our next OPSRRA Board meeting will be on January 10, 2022 from 7 to 9 PM on Zoom.

If you’re interested in participating please contact info@opsrra.ca

Be safe and have a wonderful fall!

Thank you, again, to everyone who has already renewed your membership and if you haven’t we look forward to your renewal! 

One thought on “November (Fall) Director’s Report 2021

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